Here’s something that will come as a surprise to some lawyers but not to anyone in business. The number one potential liability for a company in a crisis usually is its reputation, not the legal risk. Thus, while it’s important that crisis communications be accurate, precise, and mitigate legal risk, these generally should not be the drivers of crisis communications. Indeed, legal risks can often be managed, and often rise and fall with how well a company manages its reputation and whether customers trust it to do the right thing.
To be effective in crisis then, lawyers must collaborate with other stakeholders in the business, most often the folks in the communications or public relations group. Knowing the substance of the law, the facts, and having good judgment are not enough. Lawyers must build relationships with, learn from, and deliver coordinated solutions with communicators. To that end, here are a few tips designed to help lawyers become more effective communicator advisors and partners.